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Inaugural Meeting of C20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability

February 17, 2023 - 5:36
Inaugural Meeting of C20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability

The Civil 20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability hosted its virtual Inaugural Event on February 2, 2023, at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India. The event, attended by 484 attendees from 26 countries and 13 states within India. It marked the momentous start of a series of important meetings and policy dialogues aimed at bringing important issues, related to gender equality and disability inclusion, to the forefront of the G20 global forum.
In her opening address, Dr. Bhavani Rao, India Coordinator and UNESCO Chair at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, said, “The C20 India Chair, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, founder of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, is herself, a mind blowing example of one woman’s capacity to reach across International borders cultures, languages and religions; She is a light and inspires others to be the light.”

The meeting was then graced by the words of the C20 Chair, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. “This is an auspicious occasion,” said Amma about the Civil 20,“we have embarked on a mission to restore the dwindling light of the world.May the ethos of vasudhaivakuṭuṁbakam—’The world is one family’—awaken, be put into practise and bear fruit in everyone.”

Distinguished speakers such as Swami AmritaswarupanandaPuri, Representative of the C20 Chair, and Amb. Vijay Nambiar, C20 Sherpa also addressed the gathering.

“A shift in the current attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality can bring about the change we need to see,” said Swami AmritaswarupanandaPuri.“Men and women must work together to create a world of acceptance, recognition and respect. Let us keep moving forward towards this goal.”

Amb.Vijay Nambiar, C20 Sherpa, also shared inspiring words about how policy dialogues are an important piece of the G20 forum. “Through these C20 policy dialogues, may we embrace a wider perspective that celebrates the bounties of nature and the world around us in a spirit of unity and respect amongst each other.”

The Coordinators of the Working Group, Bhavani Rao, India Coordinator, Amrita University, India; Meg Jones, International Coordinator, Amrita University, India; and Nidhi Goyal, India Co-Coordinator, Rising Flame, India then shared a detailed structure of the Working Group, subthemes, timeline, and how organizations can participate and effect change.

“Our GED working group is shaped by a diverse and strong collective that shares the same ideal to bring social justice issues under gender equality and disability inclusion to the forefront of the G20 forum,” said Nidhi Goyal, India Co-Coordinator, Rising Flame.

In the lead-up to India’s G20 summit, policy recommendations will be developed through a series of dialogues with hundreds of CSOs facilitated by the Gender Equality and Disability Working Group. The policy dialogues will focus on these sub-themes: Physical and Mental Heath, Economic Empowerment & Sustainable Livelihoods, Education & Skill Development, Safety & Security, Environment, Society & Culture, Engaging Men and Boys, Disability
“Civil Society is the loudest voice for calling upon the government to change. Our work is a commitment to ensure that policy follows a cycle where it is adopted, implemented monitored and evaluated,” said Meg Jones, International Coordinator.

The event was also attended by several influential guests including Dr. Sandhya Purecha, Chair of Women 20, SuyashPande from the Youth 20 Engagement Group, Core Members of Civil 20, and representatives of Vivekananda Kendra and the Satsang Foundation. In addition to this, hundreds of CSOs from around the world, UNESCO representatives from India and Europe, and experts including the Gender-Related UNESCO Chair from Kenya, also participated.
The Gender Equality and Disability (GED) Working Group is committed to holistically examining and addressing the multifaceted dimensions of inequalities and disadvantages experienced by the genders and those with physical and/or mental disabilities (regardless of gender).

“Fortunately under the strong leadership of Amma and the leadership of the Government of India, we have a very strong leadership leading the G20 deliberations this year. And through hands of Mr. Nambiar we will take our work to the broader G20 dialogue,” said Meg Jones.

The GED Working Group will deliberate on issues such as access to education, healthcare, financial and environmental resources, decent work, infrastructure, and decision-making; systemic issues such as discrimination based on gender or ability, gender-based violence, lack of representation, and economic disparities. Theworking group ensures inclusivity by providing sign language interpreters for events and auto-captions for people with hearing disabilities.

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